Melanophidium wynaudense (BEDDOME, 1863)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Melanophidium wynaudense?
|Higher Taxa||Uropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||Wayanad shieldtail, Indian Black Earth Snake|
|Synonym||Plectrurus wynaudensis BEDDOME 1863|
Plectrurus wynandensis — BEDDOME 1863 (ex errore, hence not available)
Plectrurus wynandensis — BEDDOME 1864: 180
Melanophidium wynandense — GÜNTHER 1864: 194
Melanophidium wynaudense — BEDDOME 1886: 30
Melanophidium wynandense — BOULENGER 1893: 163
Melanophidium wynaudense — SMITH 1943: 67
Melanophidium wyandense [sic] — WILLIAMS 1959
Melanophidium wynaudense — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 130
Melanophidium wynaudensis — DAS 2003
Melanophidium wynaudense — WALLACH et al. 2014: 437
|Distribution||S India (W Ghats, Tamil Nadu)|
Type locality: „Cherambady in the Wynaud", Tamil Nadu, S India; lectotype locality: Manantoddy (Mananthavady), Wayanad
|Types||Lectotype: BMNH 188.8.131.52 (= BMNH 19184.108.40.206), designated by Gower et al. 2016.|
Syntypes: BMNH 220.127.116.11 (= 1918.104.22.168), 4.29.84 (= 1922.214.171.124); MNHN 95.108—95.109.
|Comment||Description after BEDDOME (1864: 180): “Scales round the body 15, round the neck 16 or 17; rostral scarcely produced back between the nasals; no supraorbital; muzzle more obtuse than in P. Perrotteti; eye small; subcaudals 11 pairs; anal large, bifid; tail compressed; scales smooth, terminal spinose, tail ending in a single horny point. Colour bluish black, with broad white blotches on the belly, which become larger and more numerous towards the tail; tail uniform bluish black.”|
Diagnosis (genus): Melanophidium can be distinguished from all other amniotes by the characters given for the family, and from other uropeltids by a mental groove, dorsal scales in 15 rows at mid- body, eye in ocular shield, and no temporal. At least three species (M. bilineatum, M. punctatum, and M. wynaudense) have a unique micro-ornamentation pattern of dorsal scales at midbody, having large (> 18.5 mm), rounded polygonal Oberhäutchen cells with level borders and no denticulations (Gower 2003). These characters sepa- rate them from 16 other uropeltid species from all genera except Pseudoplectrurus, and are thus likely also diagnostic characters. In recent studies of skull morphology, the following characters are shared by M. punctatum and M. wynaudense, but not by any sampled representatives of other uropeltid genera (i.e. they are likely, but not definitely, diagnostic of Melanophidium; though Pseudoplectrurus and Teretrurus were not sampled): supraoccipital separate, prootic and opisthotic-exoccipital separate, basisphenoid-basioccipital separate, facial nerve branches into open recess behind the mandibular branch foramen which connects with the posterior opening of the Vidian canal, and posteroventral process of dentary distinct (Rieppel & Zaher 2002; Olori & Bell 2012, Pyron et al. 2016).
Type species: Plectrurus wynaudensis BEDDOME 1863 is the type species of the genus Melanophidium GÜNTHER 1864.
Distriution: The type locality Cherambadi is in Tamil Nadu, not Kerala as stated by Wallach et al. (2014).